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Asashoryu drops Kaio, moves to 12-0

Kyodo

Undefeated Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu notched a clinical win over ozeki Kaio at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament Thursday, placing the grand champion within spitting distance of his third straight victory title.

News photoMongolian yokozuna Asashoryu forces ozeki Kaio out of the ring, retaining his unbeaten streak at 12-0, on the 12th day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
KYODO PHOTO

Asashoryu improved to 12-0 with just three days remaining at the 15-day meet, moving within clear sight of his 19th Emperor’s Cup.

The closest opponent with a mathematical chance of catching Asashoryu is rank-and-filer Homasho, who sits two off the pace at 10-2 after a defeat to injury-weary ozeki Tochiazuma.

In the day’s final, Asashoryu dismissed the rowdy chants for hometown favorite Kaio, never allowing the ozeki in for his preferred left-handed belt grip at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Asashoryu tangled Kaio’s hands up with concentrated movements before getting both hands in for a firm underarm grip and ushering his rival over the straw bales.

Injury-plagued Kaio, who had come into the meet facing relegation for a record 10th time, slipped to 9-3, failing for the sixth straight time to beat the yokozuna.

In another key bout, ozeki Tochiazuma, nursing an injured knee, gave Homasho a sumo lesson, dumping the No. 11 maegashira to the dirt with a beltless arm throw to improve to 9-3.

Homasho has mounted a bid in the title race but appeared to fold under the pressure against sumo’s second-highest rank.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai (8-4) laid the pressure on thick against rival Kotomitsuki (8-4), bashing the sekiwake with a barrage of slaps before flinging him down to the dohyo surface.